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Midtlinja (WI5), Hydnefossen

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Hydnefossen is a waterfall that I was in awe of long before I ever felt capable of climbing it. Its prominent position over the main Hemsedal valley makes it impossible to miss. It has drawn my eye both summer and winter and it is undoubtedly Hemsedal's jewel in the crown when it comes to ice climbing. This awe has grown into an obsession of late. It's a waterfall that I've geared my winter season around. I even turned down an offer to visit the Canadian Rockies in case Midtlinja ('the middle line' in English) on Hydnefossen came into condition in my absence. Nobody successfully climbed Hydnefossen to my knowledge last season and the way the season was panning out, with some significant warm periods, I wasn't expecting much different this time around. 
Then a report of an ascent of Midtlinja, with good conditions reported... That one took me by surprise! 
My friend Murilo was visiting from the UK for four days. I popped the Hydnefossen question and he was up f…

Hardis (WI4+/5), Sørstulen

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The hardest element of climbing Hardis at Sørstulen seemed to be getting through the barrier at the start of the private road. The 200kr fee for using the road is around three to four times the typical rate, and arguably exploitative, but pragmatically it's still cheaper than Jeroen and I visiting a climbing wall together, and the quality of climbing at Sørstulen was top notch on my last visit a few years ago. It was worth biting the bullet and paying.

We sent the text, with the car registration details as described, waited for the barrier to lift, but nothing happened, apart from receiving a 200 kr invoice by SMS. It was 8:20am and the customer services were not available to speak to until 9am. I tried sending another text ten minutes later but it was the same outcome. Another invoice.
We waited patiently until 9am. Sending an angry email to the same customer services helped pass the time. Jeroen meanwhile Googled and tried several optimistic ways to trick the gate to open. None…

Hydalsfossen: The Long March

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Plan A had been the general area of Vang, which we hoped would offer enough options and flexibility, but in reality nothing was ready so early in the season. Luckily Jacob had driven down from Sogndal early on the Friday, so we had plenty of time to switch plans. 
Hemsedal was the obvious replacement, although there was no obvious new plan beyond that. There had been a recent dump of snow, which made the likes of Skogshorn possibly too slow going. Jacob is also Mr Skogshorn and has climbed most of the well-known routes. We knew that Grøtenutbekken was in steep, good condition currently but we also knew that a friend planned to a second attempt in successive days, and so we gave the route a miss on that basis. The loose plan instead was to drive through Grøndalen after dawn to inspect conditions but likely continue up the valley and try Hydalsfossen. This meant a slightly later start than ideal, given the limited daylight hours. 
As largely expected, Grøndalen didn't look appealin…

Sunset Boulevard (VI+), Hægefjell

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Telemark's human population was possibly outnumbered by the resident insect population on Hægefjell's campsite on Saturday morning, but it was all the more reason for Kristian and myself to pack our things and go as swiftly as possible. At least the insects leave you alone when the climbing begins on Hægefjell, which doesn't happen in Scotland.
Our chosen route was Sunset Boulevard. It's 12 pitches, 500m in length, and gets two stars in the Gå Telemark guide, and so seemed the next logical route to try, having climbed Hægar on the previous visit. I think this route is maybe off a lot of people's radar due to a free online guide omitting it. It lies a little to the right of the better known classic Tyrion. Tyrion has a distinctive hard n7 bolted crux, which is considerably harder than the rest of the route, whereas Sunset Boulevard is much more uniform in difficulty, with three UIAA VI+ pitches to contend with.

My form was partly a mystery after dislocating my finge…

Blomkålsfossen (WI5) and Klokkhovdfossen (WI4), Rjukan Centre

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With winter back from the dead for an encore I paid one more visit to Rjukan for what would certainly be the final, final weekend of ice climbing for the season. Above all else because I was flying to the Alps the following weekend.

I've climbed none of the big A-list objectives that I had chalked up in my head at the start of the season, although I can take consolation that nobody else has managed to due to poor conditions. The season can be summarised by four weeks of solid cold temperatures in the middle of the season, with some very patchy conditions either side. On the plus side I've found some excellent, opportunistic, less-travelled routes that were well off my radar prior., and sometimes these sorts of routes can be more rewarding due to the lack of pre-expectations or beta.

I had seen Blomkålsfossen from the road previously and it had looked an intimidating prospect. Its appearance resembled a smaller Juvsøyla, however it was hard to properly gauge conditions due to …

Crampoff (WI4, 200m), Svenkerud

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Eventyrland is a fairly well-known route at Svenkerud, however further right there are a number of ice lines that have seen a lot less attention from climbers. Naturally there is very little information about them. Nikolay had already climbed the ice line immediately right of Eventyrland, referred to as 'Svenkerudisen Venstre' by ourselves, but there remained a right-hand variant still to try, and also a completely independent line even further right. The latter had greater appeal for me due to it being a fully independent line. These ice routes in question follow an easy angle in the lower parts but are steeper in the upper parts. In the case of the far right hand route there was no clear visible way to transition between these two sections, however I was fairly confident that a way would present when at closer quarters. The uncertainties over route-finding actually added interest for me, rather than raised concern. 

In light of Svenkerudisen Venstre having a mixed start a co…